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Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi 'banned from writing in Al-Hayat'

Saudi authorities had previously banned Khashoggi from writing in Al-Hayat in December 2016. [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 September, 2017

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Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi has been banned from writing in Al-Hayat newspaper, owned by prominent prince Khalid bin Sultan, after reportedly defending the Muslim Brotherhood in social media posts.

Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi has been banned from writing in the royal family-owned Al-Hayat newspaper after reportedly defending the Muslim Brotherhood in social media posts.

Saudi authorities had banned Khashoggi from writing in Al-Hayat since December 2016 after he made critical remarks about Donald Trump's ascent to the presidency at a Washington-based think tank.

A Saudi official was quoted at the time by the Saudi Press Agency as saying that Khashoggi's remarks do "not represent the government of Saudi Arabia or its positions at any level, and that his opinions only represent his personal views not that of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".

Khashoggi is known to those who follow politics in Saudi Arabia as a moderate, progressive journalist and social commentator with a huge popularity. His Twitter account has over one million followers. 

Ironically, Khadhoggi was sacked as editor of Al-Watan, a Saudi newspaper owned by a member of the royal family after being accused of supporting liberal and "anti-Islamic" views. 

The columnist's articles began reappearing late last month after the ban was lifted, but on Monday Al-Hayat co-Editor-in-Chief Saud al-Rayes confirmed that Khashoggi had once again been suspended after a decision taken by publisher Prince Khalid Bin Sultan on the recommendation of his deputy, Prince Fahd Bin Khalid.

Khashoggi hopes the latest ban will also be temporary.

"This is temporary. I will return to writing in Al-Hayat, it is my home. I thank them and appreciate the circumstances that have forced them to do this," Khashoggi wrote on twitter in response.

"I spoke to his highness and we agreed not to write anything that disseminates hate but we disagreed with regards to the Muslim Brotherhood. I wish him all the best", he added.

On Sunday, Khashoggi published a series of tweets which appeared to defend the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideology, saying the group's approach was that of every Muslim.

Saudi Arabia outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood in 2014 and banned membership, support or sympathy for the group.

In 2015, Saudi authorities cancelled a lecture that the veteran Saudi journalist was intending to deliver in Jeddah, after its title caused an uproar online as a perceived slight against the reign of the late king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

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